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Ulyankulu school - a meeting place in the shadow of mangoes

29 of June '22

A school designed by Polish architects is under construction in the small Tanzanian town of Ulyankulu, with construction initiated by the Poznan-based WAYAiR Foundation . The project shows that by drawing on local materials, techniques and skills and combining them with contemporary environmental awareness, great results can be achieved.

Budowa szkoły

Photo by Titus Rogozinski / courtesy of

Thousands of refugees from war-stricken Burundi have found refuge in neighboring Tanzania. One of the towns that have sprung up as a result of the migration is Ulyankulu in the northern part of the country. It is here that the WAYAiR Foundation, created by a group of educators who have been developing a school program in Poznan for the past 25 years, conducts its work. They have initiated research in the fields of migration, ethnography and architecture, and have partnered with the local community, organizations, leaders and schools to best respond to the needs of the locals.

more than a school

The school in Ulyankulu was intended by the project's initiators to be not only an educational building, but also a center of local life, stimulating communal activities. Its structure reflects the village layout with small pavilions surrounding a central courtyard shaded by mango trees. All classrooms are surrounded by an ornate, perforated clay brick wall, forming a sequence of smaller patios, each designed to accommodate a variety of outdoor activities and encourage children and other Ulyankulu residents to socialize, play and spend time together.

local resources



photo by

Architects from working with ARH+ and Akon , the company responsible for the building's construction, used traditional techniques, knowledge and heritage to design the Tanzanian school, supplementing them with environmental awareness and professional architectural expertise. The design uses materials, details and craftsmanship from Ulyankulu's immediate surroundings - which not only reduces the environmental burden, but also allows for the social inclusion of those building the school in techniques familiar to them.

with the climate in mind

schemat klimatyczny schemat szkoły


The region's traditional technologies are also based on the most efficient passive ways to cool buildings. The double roof structure is designed to provide efficient passive cooling and prevent interior overheating. The roof slopes are also designed to collect rainwater, which will then be stored underground.

education and theater

wizializacja dziedzińca


The WAYAiR Foundation was created by a group of passionate educators who have spent the past 25 years developing a unique school program in Poznan. "Łejery" began as a small theater group for children, and over time has evolved into a school that proves year after year that its educational programs are democratic and arts-based. WAYAiR was established to share the knowledge and experience of the "Leaguers" with others.

budynek szkoły

Photo by Titus Rogozinski / courtesy of

Kacper Kępiński

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